COVID Updates: Find out the latest on visitor restrictions and ongoing vaccinations at St. Joseph’s/Candler.  Learn more

First Steps program at St. Joseph’s/Candler offers parenting support, education

Women's Care
Jul 23, 2019

Becoming a mom – especially for the first time – can be both joyous and overwhelming. At St. Joseph’s/Candler, we believe all parents can benefit from support at the time of the birth of a child into the early years of a child’s life.

One such program that provides parents access to resources and education is First Steps. First Steps is a community-based program funded in part by the state and is offered in communities across the country.

Marie Miles, St. Joseph’s/Candler First Steps coordinator“We want moms to know that St. Joseph’s/Candler will do all we can to help mothers obtain what they need for the wellbeing of themselves and their baby,” says Marie Miles, St. Joseph’s/Candler First Steps coordinator.

The First Steps program provides:

  • A personal visit prenatally or following birth
  • Parenting information on topics such as:
    • infant crying
    • child and home safety
    • early childhood brain development
    • parent and infant health and wellness
    • child development
    • selecting caregivers
    • readiness for school
  • A local community resource guide for new parents
  • Access to a telephone helpline
  • Outreach to all participants through follow-up contacts providing support and answering parent’s questions

First Steps is free and designed for new moms; however, Miles meets with all Telfair BirthPlace families. During her visit, she does an assessment and hands out the First Steps packet.

The packet Miles hands out includes information families may need weeks or months after the baby is born such as primary care locations, insurance information, postpartum care, CPR instructions and so much more.

Miles also is available by phone to help answer any questions or provide support to families after they leave the hospital.

“I provide for the rich, the famous, the poor, the homeless – everyone – because you never know who may be looking for help, and I’m here for those that need help,” Miles says. “I’m here to help you obtain whatever you need to provide for yourself and your newborn.”

Miles understands there’s no tell-all book on being a mom, but she hopes the information she provides and the relationships she builds helps ease some stress on growing families. Since its inception, the First Steps program has been shown to strengthen families by increasing protective factors known to promote well-being including:

  • Encourage parent/child attachment and nurturing through education about the links between infant brain development and parental behaviors
  • Promote parental resilience by providing emotional support to parents
  • Promote social contacts by encouraging parents to reach out to First Steps program coordinators and volunteers, community organizations, parent support groups and family and friends
  • Provide concrete support for parents with a local community resource guide and by connecting families with services and information specific to their needs/interests

Related Article: Reading to children at a young age builds literacy, language skills

For more information about First Steps, or if you and your family could benefit from its resources, call 912-819-6911.

How can we help you?